Following several deaths and hundreds of illnesses related to e-cigarette use in multiple states, the Centers for Disease Control on Friday, Sept. 6 encouraged the public to avoid using e-cigarette products until more is known.
"While this investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using e-cigarette products," according to a CDC press release. "Regardless of the ongoing investigation, people who use e-cigarette products should not buy these products off the street and should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer. E-cigarette products should never be used by youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products."
This development comes on the heels of a national trend of serious illnesses associated with e-cigarette use. More than 200 people have been hospitalized and two have died, including a middle-aged Oregon resident whose death was announced Tuesday by the Oregon Health Authority.
On Wednesday, Sept. 4, Multnomah County leaders including Chair Deborah Kafoury and Commissioner Sharon Meieran gathered with U.S. Senator Ron Wyden to support a federal tax on e-cigarette products. In Multnomah County, 10 percent of 11th graders reported vaping in the past 30 days. Nationally, one-in-five high school students vape.
In 2015, Multnomah County passed an ordinance that prohibits minors from buying and using inhalant delivery systems. The Board also passed a tobacco retail license rule, which allowed inspectors to enforce the law. And Commissioners have lobbied for a state tax on e-cigarettes.
“I’m proud of the steps that Multnomah County has taken to stop kids from getting ahold of these things," Kafoury said. “We’re not done yet and I will continue to work on these issues because the impacts on nicotine of a developing brain are lifelong. And no one really understands that when you are 14 years old.”
Commissioner Meieran, an emergency room doctor, warned that e-cigarette products are not safer than traditional nicotine products, even if they have fewer additives.
“What we’re meant to breathe into our lungs… is air,” Dr. Meieran said.
What you can do
People who use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms and promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns. Symptoms include:
- shortness of breath,
- chest pain,
- vomiting, Abdominal pain,
- or fever.
People who use e-cigarette products are also urged to not buy these products off the street, modify e-cigarette products, or add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer. E-cigarette products should also never be used by the following populations:
- young adults,
- pregnant women,
- or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.
If you are concerned about your health after using an e-cigarette product, contact your health care provider, or you can also call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Health care providers also can contact their local poison control center.